Catching up with Old Friends for the First Time

Educon 2.2 is next weekend and I can’t wait.  Not only will I have the opportunity to hear Chris Lehmann, Dean Shareski, Will Richardson, and Michael Horn speak about current, progressive issues in education, but I am going to get the chance to meet face to face with some of the most valuable people in my life these days, my PLN.

Since July of 2009, when I started writing this blog and being more of a participant in the global conversation, I have begun to develop very meaningful, albeit virtual, relationships with learning leaders across the United States and the world.  These are people who I have come to count on to push me, provide me with support and resources, and challenge the way I look at teaching and learning.  These are folks who I began “chatting” with over Twitter, my blog, or Ning and have developed a real fondness for, and relationship with, over time.

But, what you need to know about me is that I am not a gregarious person by nature.  I’m something of an introvert and can be quite insecure about my thoughts and insights.  Put me in a room with 150 strangers and at the end of 4 hours I’ll walk out with 150 strangers.  In my virtual room, however, that introverted, often times insecure person is pushed aside by the person inside of me that is interested in developing a voice in the global conversation.  During the past six months since I started this blog and began growing my PLN, I’ve noticed that I am more confident in my ability to interact with others online than I am in person.  I am simply more comfortable communicating and conversing virtually than personally.

This shift has really been meaningful for me because it has allowed me to unlearn old beliefs and practices while I try transform into a 21st century learning leader.  Next week, I’ll have the opportunity to meet my peers that are helping me find this voice and undergo this transformation face to face for the first time, only I won’t be in a room with strangers and I won’t be awkward or hesitant, because I will simply be catching up with old friends…for the first time.

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